ESRI’s ArcGIS Explorer Revealed

Both Ed Parsons and Jeff Thurston give us a quick look at the new ESRI ArcGIS Explorer at the 20th ESRI European User Conference. I’m not one to use the word “Google Earth Killer” until I’ve played with it, but both Ed says:

ArcGIS Explorer will be a free 15Mb download from the ESRI website and will connect to a dedicated ArcWeb server farm at ESRI providing an experience similar to Google Earth, although I was not clear where the imagery is sourced from. What got me excited however, is the ability of ArcGIS Explorer to use other data services including OGC WMS and WFS servers and any ArcIMS server you may already use. ArcGIS can also display local data, File GDB’s,shape files, most image formats and even KML files from your PC’s hard drive.

Rather than the small controlled demo at the 2005 UC, this demo was of the actual product and it appears that it has impressed many GIS professionals. Jeff says:

You are going to love this. This is a 2nd generation GIS product that is Google Maps, Google Earth, Virtual Earth and World Wind and more. ESRI has taken a major leap “a revolutionary leap” into the viewer exploration world.

It is one thing to say that ArcGIS Explorer is a Google Earth competitor, but it would seem that ArcGIS Explorer will change the way people use GIS. I can’t wait to see it.


Planet Geospatial Update

I’ve added many more feeds into Planet Geospatial tonight for a total of over 60 blogs. You’ll see some old posts at the top of the page for a couple hours. It seems that some blogs feeds (in this case Atom feeds as usual) have bogus dates in them. The Python script I’m running detects this and assigns the current time to them. This should go away after more blog posts happen over the next couple hours.

Remember you can subscribe to any of the blogs by clicking on the RSS feed link on the right of Planet Geospatial or you can subscribe to the Planet Geospatial feed which includes all of them.


Tracking Tropical Storm BETA

Tropical Storm BETA Public Advisory

Another week and another storm in the Caribbean is going to cause havoc for residents. These storms with Greek names are just freaky, though I can assume if you are hit by one its name isn’t very important considering more pressing needs such as food, water, shelter. Anyway, you can track the storm using either ESRI’s storm tracker application or the Hurricane Tracker.

Ts beta


Revised ArcMap Crash Dialog

Flickr user supercooper has created his own ArcMap crash dialog.

51772342 ce7d9382b2

Actually this Flickr user has some nice looking maps uploaded. Not a bad way to show your portfolio.


The Haunted Map

Link – Haunted map

Just in time for Halloween, there is a wonderful new Virtual Earth mashup. If you are interested in where haunted buildings are in your area (doesn’t seem to have any haunted places in the Phoenix Metro area), you can give it a quick look. I like the theme that was chosen, very slick if you ask me. Poly9 has created some really impressive mashups with Virtual Earth

_Update_ – link seems to be up and down. Guess this stuff is popular this time of year. Just try later if it doesn’t work.


Tracking Hurricane Wilma with ArcWeb

I’ve been keeping an eye on Wilma using the ESRI hurricane tracker mostly because I have many friends in the Fort Myers, FL area. Anyway I just noticed something on the tracker that made me look twice.

Arcweb alpha

Say hello to Tropical Depression Alpha (hiding off there to the right of the image). So the counter has reset on the storm names. For those who haven’t heard:

In the event that more than 21 named tropical cyclones occur in the Atlantic basin in a season, additional storms will take names from the Greek alphabet: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and so on.

I wonder if this happens again next year if they will start naming the second batch of storm names. Amazing how quickly this has spun out of control. I’ll take the 120 degree days here in the summer over a hurricane, blizzard, earthquake, tsunami anytime. Hopefully when I wake up in the morning not too much damage will have been caused by Wilma. Good luck Florida.


GIS Has Arrived When…

Adobe blogs about it.

Link – Making inroads

Modern mapmaking now starts with GIS data from state or local government that includes way more information than you really want. The task nowadays is to remove the unwanted data from the map to reduce clutter and focus on the desired information. One of the tasks these Illustartor users have is to create linked networks of nodes to create the streets and highways we see on a map.


Introducing Planet Geospatial

I’ve had this idea in my head ever since I’ve started posting every GIS blog I’ve found on my blog front page figure out a way to bring them all together so people can follow the GIS blog community without having to visit every site I was thinking this would be a good way to introduce people to new GIS blogs also, rather than just visiting the top 5. Anyway after learning way too much about Python and FreeBSD I’ve finally gotten the script to work.

Anyway, announcing Planet Geospatial.

What is it?

Planet Geospatial aggregates posts from just about every GIS blog I can find that posts regualarly or is important for strategic reasons and serves them in a variety of formats from headlines to full posts and RSS (you can subscribe to Planet Geospatial on its own). The script is set to rebuild the files every hour so posts may not show up instantly. There is a timestamp on the front page that shows last rebuild.

There are still some issues as posts modified will show up again on Planet Geospatial and some feeds created by many of the bloggers don’t validate (I’ve had to escape out of most of them) so many of you might want to validate your RSS feeds.

I’ve probably missed some feeds so please email me with any suggestions or comments about Planet Geospatial.

Update – I didn’t think to offer this, but if you wish to be removed from Planet Spatial, just email me too. I’ll get it out of there ASAP with no questions asked.


mapz on Common Student-Encountered GIS Problems

Link – Top 10 Most Common Student-Encountered GIS Problems

I have been working with and teaching undergrad and grad students GIS for 4+ years now and have compiled a list of the 10 most frequent problems that they encounter. In my current position, I spend about 15 hours per week holding office hours in the main GIS Lab on campus, where students, staff, and faculty can visit for GIS assistance, and rarely do I have a free moment. (Well, perhaps during intercession.) I often find myself explaining the same concepts and pointing out the same resources over and over again, so I wanted to pull together this list. ESRI ArcGIS is the main software application used on campus and so many of the examples below refer to this application.

I’ve noticed all these while using slave labor (sometimes called interns) on projects. The inability manage project work just kills them as well as making assumptions. I always tell them, just ask as many questions as you like because we’ve got many years of GIS experience here in our little shop and no sense reinventing the wheel.


Blog Support in the ESRI World

Link – Peer Support by Blog

Andrew Hallam posted to thank Jithen Singh for letting the world know about a technical paper on ArcGIS server. He also makes the great point of how blogs gave him information that he normally would not have gotten from ESRI because of their confusing support site. While it is true that they have a “Support Notifications” registration site that will send out emails for this kind of information, I’ve noticed that many new documents show up without being included in the weekly email. What needs to happen is RSS feeds for practically ever section of the support site. I should be able to subscribe to the ArcIMS RSS Feed and get all new documents as they appear, not wait until the get included in an email that my Outlook always seems to label as Junk Mail (no matter what I do with its settings). I’ve heard again and again from ESRI staff about how the support site is held together with duct tape, but something has to give and soon over more RSS feeds.

Oh and would someone over at ESRI make Jei some sort of MVP? (or just send him some t shirt that said GIS Geek on it) He’s pretty much deserved some kind of recognition given all he’s done over on the other side of the world.